January 15, 2013


One below and no wind! Shirley says she didn’t even need to put on her Carharts this morning. That woman is tough.
Well, the blizzard that wasn’t came through here Friday and Saturday. The forecast was for a foot of snow and strong winds. The snow amounted to an inch or two. The winds blew a little, but not enough to create the blizzard conditions that the weatherman was hoping for. At least, not around here.
But I tell you what, it is starting to look like winter. At least after the last two winters. Those old boys from Louisiana working on the rigs are going to start losing their ears like a newborn calf pretty soon. Someone posted a headline from an old paper a few days ago. I think it was 1996. Wind chill for a solid week was from    -40 to -90! You want to cover your garden for a deal like that.
I remember one tough winter during the oil boom of the 80s. Pipe was being hauled up from Houston as it is now. Workers were flocking here from southern states much like today. Winterizing on rigs wasn’t near as good as it is now, and those boys spent a lot of cold days and nights tripping pipe in terrible conditions.
There was a rig drilling not far from the ranch and we were doing snow removal on the location. So we became acquainted with some of the hands over the winter.
One old boy made the best hot sauce I ever tasted. He was an old hand that was dry watching the rig after the hole came up dry. Think his name was Charlie. He had done a little time in the “big house.” He would never really say what he had done, but rumor had it he’d got in a fight over a Cajun queen. Or maybe that’s a song I heard. You be the judge. But he was a fine friend.
One day a trucker came in to use the phone. Being a southern lad, he hadn’t heard of number one fuel and his truck had jelled up near the ranch. Mechanics came out to heat it up and get it going. He wanted to call his boss and tell him what the problem was.
I listened from the other room as he exclaimed to his boss (in a southern drawl), “It’s so damn cold in this godforsaken land that the fuel freezes. They are digging it out of the lines with a screwdriver!”
Another story that came from the rig one particularly windy day was a guy came down off the rig and met his driller coming up. The driller asked where he was going.
Again in a southern drawl, “I’m just going to get my jacket.”
The driller asked, “Where’s your jacket?”
“Texas!” the old boy drawled.
So, as I explain to Shirley as she thaws her frozen hands, it could be worse.